Archive for December 5th, 2011

Mid-Day Delhi and Mid-Day Bangalore to shut

5 December 2011

The front page of the final edition of Mid-Day, Bangalore, on 6 December 2011, with a farewell note by executive editor Sachin Kalbag

The Bombay tabloid Mid-Day has made three attempts to break into Bangalore. The first was in the early 1980s under the redoubtable Khalid A.H. Ansari, and the second in the late 1980s under his sons Tarique and Sharique Ansari, when the Bangalore editions of Sunday Mid-Day rolled out. Both those attempts  came quickly unstuck.

The third entry came in 2006, when the group launched a daily edition, hoping as all groups do to tap into the “high-earning, big-spending IT crowd” that only media managers can spot. The third entry also coincided with the paper’s full entry into Delhi. Now, both editions are being shut down by the news owners, Dainik Jagran, effective tomorrow.

Below is the full text of the email received by employees from group CEO Manajit Ghoshal at 5.13 pm, and it is remarkable for how lightly it treats the lives of dozens of ordinary journalists and other staffers at short notice, while dishing out the boilerplate managerial bullshit about “corporate scenario”.

***

Dear colleagues

It’s with a heavy heart that I have to announce the closure of Mid-Day Delhi and Mid-Day Bangalore editions. Tomorrow’s issue will be the last issue for both the editions. This has been necessitated by the prolonged losses we had to incur on these editions.

The idea behind starting these editions was to establish these brands in these cities and make a difference in the lives of the citizens there. We had begun well and were appreciated for the quality of product we put out. However, in a corporate scenario the books need to be balanced.

Due to the ever increasing competition in the print media space, the funds required for breakeven in these cities kept escalating. Finally, we had to take this call. We will however, continue to maintain a news bureau in Delhi and our sales offices in Bangalore and Delhi.

But, every dark cloud has a silver lining. The silver lining in this is that Mumbai Mid-Day now will have the strength to soar to greater heights. By cutting our losses in Delhi and Bangalore editions, we will be able to bolster our circulation in Mumbai.

Apart from the plan to channel these investments, Jagran group (our parent company) will invest a large sum in boosting Mid-Day’s circulation in Mumbai. This will give our sales guys across the country to pitch Mumbai Mid-Day to clients and agencies in a new light.

We need to now concentrate on building brand Mid-Day in Mumbai and monetizing Mumbai Mid-Day’s large increase in circulation and in this our sales colleagues in Delhi, Bangalore and Pune will have to play a significant part.

Gujrati Mid-Day and Inquilab continue to go from strength to strength. We are increasing the circulation of GMD at a brisk pace and will continue to do so. Inquilab has flourished in the north and we now have 14 editions in all and are far ahead of any competition in the Urdu space.

Mid-Day Pune is an extension of Mid-Day Mumbai just as the Pune city is an extension of Mumbai. Mid-Day Pune will continue to run at an ever increasing pace and we will be monitoring the Pune media market keenly to spot opportunities to improve the circulation of Midday Pune.

We will continue to invest aggressively in our digital properties as we believe that this is a medium whose time has come.

5th December, 2011 is an important day in the history of Mid-Day. Today, we will have to halt and think. Think about many of our colleagues who will have to move on.

It’s a testing time for them as it is for us. Right now it might look dark but I am sure both of us will come out of this with flying colours. We wish them all the best in their future endeavors. We also need to think about the added responsibilities for all of us who remain in this great organization and who have to carry its legacy forward. Let’s begin this phase of our journey with renewed vigour and conviction.

In conclusion, I can only say that all dreams may not fructify but that will only encourage us to try harder and bring us closer, marching forward with a vision which only we can realise. We strive for continuity and absolutes but are reminded time and again that change is the only constant.

In this time of great pain and heavy responsibility, I am sure God will give us the tenacity to walk on—and then to break into a run—and once again soar to live our destiny.

Cheers
Manajit Ghoshal

The journalism film that Dev Anand didn’t make

5 December 2011

Indian Express editor-in-chief Shekhar Gupta pens a warm and personal profile of the departed Bollywood star Dev Anand in today’s paper, with this concluding first-person experience:

“His curiosity about my life and years as a reporter too was never-ending. Sometimes, on those long evenings, I would end up telling him stories from the pickets, trenches, minefields and snipers’ alleys just as I might tell my children. And he listened just as curiously as the children.

“So he said to me one day, ‘Shekhar, let me make a film on your life.’

“I said thank you, and that it was such a funny idea.

“But he said no, there will be a journalist like you who goes from one battlefield to another, Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur under tribal insurgencies, Amritsar under Bhindranwale and Operation Bluestar, the massacres at Nellie and in Delhi after Indira Gandhi’s assassination, Afghanistan and Pakistan during the first (and “good”) jihad against the Soviets, Jaffna under LTTE and IPKF, Baghdad’s Al Rashid hotel and Jerusalem under Scud missile attacks in the first Gulf War — he remembered all the various stops in my years of reporting conflict.

“There will be many, many interesting women in his life, including an ambitious politician, a Pakistani spy and a pretty foreign journalist, he said, ‘what a film it will turn out to be, Shekhar, socho zara.’

“I asked him, cheekily, so, Dev Saab, who will play me in your film?

“‘For the younger phase, we will have to find somebody. Lekin thoda senior hone ke baad,’ he said, of course he would be playing that lead role himself!”

At the time of the interaction, Dev Anand was 80 years old and Shekhar Gupta, 46.

***

Pankaj Vohra, political editor of the Hindustan Times, writes in today’s paper:

“I remember that I had invited him to the Press Club of India for a “Meet the Press” programme, just before Sache Ka Bol Bala was to be released. There was no electronic media and I doubt that any actor in our history has received the kind of coverage he got on the front pages of every newspaper, which came out from Delhi.

“The story is that originally, the report was slated for page three in the Dainik Hindustan. But when the night foreman saw Dev Anand’s picture and the report, he ran it on the front page telling his colleagues that he was prepared to face the consequences the next day as “Dev Anand has to be on page one”. This is the kind of committed following he had.”

***

Raja Sen in Mumbai Mirror:

“I was lying in bed, bleary eyed and half-asleep, making up for a particularly long and raucous night when the phone rang. “This is Dev Anand,” the voice trilled, in that exact iconic, oft-mimicked tone we’ve all heard, and I instantly, instinctively stood up — y know, like in the movies where hawaldaars stand while talking to the superintendent.

“Devsaab commandeered respect by default, regardless of fading importance and diminishing cinematic quality, and here he was calling up in response to an SMS I’d sent about an interview and totally throwing me off balance in the process, of course.

Goldie [Anand] would have cast you as a spy in the 70s”, he laughed later when I sat across from him in his Bandra office. He asked me what I’d like to drink, and then ordered me tea with a flourish — “inke liye aisi chai laana ki unhe yaar rahein kahan chai pee thi” — in that tone again, naturally, with a wink thrown in, and proceeded to talk.”

***

Bharati Dubey in The Times of India:

“The first time ever spoke to Dev Anand was after the release of his 1994 film Gangster. ‘I read your review titled ‘Gangster Disaster’,’ said the legendary actor over the phone. ‘You are entitled to your opinion. Please come and meet me at my pent house in Bandra….’

“His invitations were always personally written and he followed them up with a reminder phone call…. One never needed to go through a secretary to fix up a meeting with Dev Anand ‘I’m available on this number after 2 pm,’ he would say ‘Call me and we shall meet.’”

Read the Express article: Deeply in love with life and with himself

Read the HT article: Fiercely independent, fearless and individualistic

Read the Mumbai Mirror article: Salaam, Dev saab

Read the ToI article: Goodbye guide to romance

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